Rory Gallagher Profile:
Born: March 2, 1948 in Ballyshannon, Ireland
Died: June 14, 1995 in London, England
Blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher was one of the first notable rock musicians from Ireland, his story one of both triumph and tragedy. During a career that spanned nearly three decades, Gallagher sold almost 30 million records worldwide, making a name for himself as an inventive guitarist and dynamic bluesman. Since his death in 1995, Gallagher's star has only gotten brighter as new blues fans discover the artist's imposing talent.
Taste, Featuring Rory Gallagher
Gallagher became fascinated at a young age with the American blues and folk musicians that he heard on his radio. Seeing Elvis Presley perform on television, he was inspired to learn the guitar. Gallagher first performed with various professional show bands during the early-1960s, playing popular hits. The guitarist converted one such show band, the Impact, into a six-piece R&B band.
In 1967, Gallagher formed the Irish blues-rock band Taste, revamping the band's line-up after a 1968 move to London. Taste was an important early training ground for Gallagher: the band released two studio albums and toured Europe and North America with big-league headliners like Blind Faith, allowing the guitarist to refine his live performances. Taste broke-up in 1970, and Gallagher launched his solo career.
A prolific solo artist, during the 1970s Gallagher delivered ten albums of scorching blues-rock, soulful R&B, and guitar-driven boogie (including two live sets). Gallagher also toured heavily, hitting the U.S. shores 25 times during the decade, along with frequent European tours, earning a reputation as a marathon performer. The blues fan also enjoyed performing with his idols, lending his talents to recordings by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others.
By the late-1980s, Gallagher's health had begun to deteriorate due to alcohol use. The musician continued to tour until 1995, when he underwent a liver transplant. Gallagher died weeks later from an infection related to the transplant. He left a large legacy, however, musicians like The Edge from U2, Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell, and Brian May of Queen citing Gallagher's influence on their own music.
Recommended Albums: The live Irish Tour '74 captures an explosive set of fan favorites with Gallagher delivering a stunning performance.